Solaris

Posts related to Oracle Solaris: Solaris 10, OpenSolaris, ZFS, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions About Flash Memory (SSDs) and ZFS

ZFS SSD FAQ Illustration

A few weeks ago, a reader asked me a couple of questions about SSDs and ZFS, hinting that this might be a good topic to write a blog post about.

Sure enough, just last week, a couple of similar questions came up, this time from a customer and a colleague at work.

Well, if that's not a sign from heaven, I don't know what is, so here's a collection of frequently asked questions about flash memory (also known as solid state disks, or SSDs) and ZFS, with answers and some useful links, and an index, too.

How to Save the World with ZFS and 12 USB sticks: 4th Anniversary Video Re-Release Edition

Screenshot from the video

About 4 years ago, a few colleagues and myself got together and we created a short video about the coolness of two of the most innovative products from Sun of the last decade: ZFS and the X4500 Server.

Today, nearly 4 years later, the video has been downloaded more than 100,000 times (across the original German and the English dubbed version, plus the full resolution downloadable files) and shown to a lot more people during tradeshows, customer demos, etc.

Now YouTube and Google Video (remember?) don't allow for highest video quality and the old Sun Mediacast server, where we hosted the original MP4 file, no longer exists. Instead, Vimeo has emerged as my video hoster of choice for a variety of projects (check out my video collection on Vimeo) and so it was time to give this video a new home.

My Favorite Oracle Solaris Performance Analysis Commands

4 commands that help you find bottlenecks

A while ago, we discussed some performance analysis basics:

  • Define what your problem is.
  • Figure out your goal: What metric needs to be in what ballpark for you to declare victory?
  • Analyze your system from the inside out: CPU, RAM, Disk, Network. Your Bottleneck is always in one of these 4 regions.

So what are the best commands for finding bottlenecks in each of the four categories above? Here's part two of my Oracle Solaris Performance cheat sheet with some favorite tricks.

Top 7 Cool Things About the New Oracle Solaris 11 Express Release

Solaris_11_Express.jpg

At last, it is here: After lots of waiting, speculation, community self-help efforts, future directions, anticipation and more, we're now holding it in our hands: Oracle Solaris 11 Express is here!

While you're testing/installing/upgrading to this new release, let's check out the following top 7 cool things about Oracle Solaris 11 Express:

Firesheep killed HTTP. Long Live HTTPS With Free SSL Acceleration, Courtesy of SPARC/Solaris!

SPARC_T3.jpg

Before we continue our little Performance Analysis Series, let's look at some current news:

The Bad News: HTTP is dead. Get over it. The killer? It's called Firesheep, a free Firefox extension that makes it trivially easy for that kid sitting next to you in that Wifi hotspot to steal your Facebook, Twitter or other web services' identity.

The Victims: The first line of victims are of course millions of unsuspecting users that are sitting in WLAN areas, not knowing that their web identities can be stolen at the click of the button. But the real victims are hundreds, if not thousands of website owners, starting with the who-is-who of web companies, who are now (rightly so) faced with the challenge of upgrading their web infrastructure to HTTPS as soon as possible, preferably overnight.

The Good News: Adding encryption to your web servers used to be an additional burden on the CPU, negatively impacting performance by as much as 2-3x. Fortunately, the new SPARC T3 processors enable you to switch SSL encryption on for your web applications, without any performance impact. This is possible through built-in encryption engines at the core level. And thanks to the Oracle Solaris Cryptographic Framework, it's easy to take advantage of hardware encryption for any application that needs it.

Wanna learn more? Read on!

My Personal Oracle Solaris Performance Analysis Cheat Sheet

Bottleneck.jpg

Over time, you tend to learn a Solaris performance trick or two. Or three. Or more. That's cool, it's how stuff works: You learn, you do, you remember.

Performance analysis and tuning is just like that: You learn a trick from a person that is more senior than you are, you apply it, you feel like a hero, you learn the next trick.

But having a bag of tricks is not enough. Because then you start trying out stuff without a system, and spend useless time hunting that problem with a hit-and-miss approach, gut-based only.

Therefore, I'm always glad to listen to Ulrich Gräf when he does one of his famous performance tuning workshops (if you're lucky, you can catch Uli blogging in German here), because he'll give you the full view, the context and the system too, when it comes to performance analysis.

So here's my personal cheat sheet for Oracle Solaris Performance Analysis, including some guideance on how to systematically catch that elusive bottleneck.

Oracle Solaris 10 09/10: ZFS Highlights

Solaris10_0910.jpg

The recently announced Oracle Solaris 10, 09/10 release introduced a number of significant upgrades to the ZFS file system.

Ironically, Solaris 10 now comes with a higher ZFS pool version (19, at least) than OpenSolaris 2009.06 (14).

So let's look at some of the key ZFS improvements that came in this update and figure out why they're so useful.

In this article, you'll learn more about LUN Expansion, Snapshot Holds, Triple Parity RAID-Z, Log Device Improvements, Pool Recovery, Splitting Mirrors and we'll discover a new scheduler class!

And as a bonus, we'll get to watch some videos that explain these features in further detail.